Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Newly Diagnosed As Bipolar I


 I saw my psychiatrist last week, my 3rd session with him, and he has now told me I have Bipolar I. It wasn't a shock, I was expecting it, and I am actually not too bummed about it because at least now I know what is wrong with me. He told me I meet all the signs & criteria for this & because I have had several severe manic episodes which have severely affected my life at times. I actually feel somewhat relieved because now I'm hopeful I can fight this & try to stay stable. The final straw was this summer when I had an intense manic episode that lasted several weeks that sent me to the hospital, paranoid delusions, being more hypersexual  than ever & getting by on hardly any sleep. Plus all the other times in the past when I felt like I was higher than a kite & bouncing off the walls but apparently those were manic phases.

My doctor told me that it's not uncommon for people to have bipolar & also anxiety. He already gave me some Seroquel, I took it for about a week, up to 300mg but then cut down because it was making me SO tired & listless! He wants me to keep taking it. I didn't feel bad on it, just really foggy & confused. He said I need to give it more time. He is also starting me on Abilify. I don't know much about it other than the tv commercials I've seen. I wasn't aware it was used for bipolar treatment. He gave me a brochure to take home and read more about my diagnosis. He said the Abilify should help get me stable, & keep me there. I hope it works for me. I asked him about Lamictal, because I had read about it, but he wanted to try the Abilify first because he said it's effective at preventing major mania like I experience from time to time. I don't have much depressive episodes, not nearly as bad as the mania. Can't remember exactly what he said about the Lamictal, but he dismissed it pretty much out of hand, indicating that it wouldn't be as effective for me since I have Bipolar I and not Bipolar II. Plus I'm already on Seroquel too. So yeah, hopefully it will work.

I'm also still on Paxil for my anxiety. It still isn't perfect, I am going down from 40mg to 20mg because I felt the 40 was too high for me & making me groggy, & he agreed.

So now I'm going to be on Seroquel+Paxil+Abilify+Xanax+Atripla I could open my own damn pharmacy!
It all kind of sucks, right now I'm still a bit numb about it all. I just want to get to the point that I can stay stable & function like everyone else. I also have anxiety besides the bipolar which for years people wrongly diagnosed me & patronized me as being "anxious" or "hyper". I hate having to take this many meds but don't have much choice. I am seeing a therapist regularly. It helps a bit I guess.

I hope this Obamacare thing lives up to its name not discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions should I choose to buy new insurance later on in my life. My psychiatrist told me having bipolar could scare off some insurers in the past but now they are prohibited from doing so. I hope he's right. At least I feel that I have a good psychiatrist who listens to me. Guess that's important.


Hi!I've been reading your story for a wee while and im really glad that you have a good relationship with your psychiatrist.Im not bi polar but I do take anti depressants and am under the care of a psychiatrist too re anxiety.

Meds do take a wee while to work.....but its worth it.You trusted your own instincts, knew something was up and that takes courage so thats a huge step.

Thinking of you.


Hi ,

From family experience I know that it does take time to find the right balance off drugs . From your post though you do seem to have a very clear outlook and now with the on going medical supervision lets hope that the severe episodes are a thing off the Past .

Do you know others in your situation ?

All the best


Getting used to the meds has sucked. Some of the side effects are really weird. My mania is getting a bit better, just had a rather pronounced manic episode recently that lasted for a couple of weeks. When mania hits me, it's bizarre, kind of like out of body, I feel this elation, hypersexuality, impulsiveness, wanting to shop, clean, etc. But at the time, I'm never aware. The last one wasn't as bad as some I've had, but it was pretty draining. I tried going up to 5mg of Abilify, but couldn'd handle the restlessness it caused. I'm on 2mg of Abilify and 20 mg of Paxil now. Psychiatrist said may have to try a different medication if I can't handle the 5mg of Abilify. We shall see.

My insurance recently cancelled me, out of nowhere. I'm hoping it's not because of my bipolar diagnosis. I have to pay a small fine to get reinstated, which I'll do, but am actively shopping for cheaper, better insurance plans now. The healthcare system is really ridiculous!


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